First, courtesy of Joanna Smith, the airing of grievances.
While she is credited with bringing more muscular oversight and focus to the department that doles out foreign aid money to help the world’s most vulnerable populations, she also ran roughshod over young Conservative aides and bureaucrats, one former government official said. She berated civil servants in meetings in full view of their peers, pressured political staff to delay or obscure the mandatory publication of her ministerial expenses and regularly smoked cigarettes in her office, in violation of provincial laws, the former official added. “She just ignored all the rules. Ignored everything. Fire hazards. Nothing. Just smoking away. Her staff would go off the deep end.”
John Ivison finds similar complaints, but praises her larger accomplishments.
“It is an inglorious end to an inglorious career, announced on a website in the middle of summer,” said one of her former staff members. Ms. Oda had one of the highest staff turnovers of any minister and people who have worked with her said she could be obnoxious and rude. Yet no one denies she could also be effective. Working with a like-minded CIDA president in Margaret Biggs, Ms. Oda deconstructed the agency and sought to break the stranglehold of the non-governmental organizations, who had long dictated where Canada’s aid was spent.
CP recalls the first gaffe.
She entered politics by wresting the suburban Toronto riding of Durham from the Liberals in 2004 and was rewarded with increased pluralities in subsequent elections. She found herself appointed to Harper’s first cabinet in 2006 and quickly landed in her first controversy: the newly appointed heritage minister allowed a broadcasting executive to organize and advertise a fundraiser, even though she now oversaw policies that affected the industry. Only after the media and the NDP raised the apparent conflict of interest did Oda pull out of the event and the cheques were returned to donors. The gaffe happened at the same time as the Conservatives were pushing through the Federal Accountability Act.
The Globe says Ms. Oda was told she would be removed from the international development portfolio. Postmedia considers the coming cabinet shuffle. And Susan Delacourt considers how ministers are dispensed with.